Tom Cruise returns as ever as secret agent Ethan Hunt in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”
With an impressive 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the fifth installment of Christopher McQuarrie’s 19-year franchise has critics praising the film as the first worthwhile action flick of the summer. Perhaps it’s because, at 53, Cruise is still doing his own stunts. Perhaps it’s the non-stop action sequences that are larger-than-life and rely little on its plot.
Or, as TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde puts it: “‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’ never pretends to be anything but a solidly entertaining collection of fighting, chasing, driving, falling and going-to-the-place-and-getting-the-thing. But at that level, it delivers completely. Choose to accept it.”
Here are eight more of the best reviews brightening up the otherwise dark Internet.
A.V. Club critic A.A. Dowd:
“As Hollywood continues to build franchises on top of franchises, turning the summer movie season into a massive crossover event, the ‘M:I’ films remain blessedly, unfashionably self-contained: They’re stand-alone popcorn entertainments that can be watched in any order, with only the thinnest of connecting continuity between them. Who needs a post-credits tease for next summer’s sequel when you have the pre-credits spectacle of Tom Cruise really, truly, actually dangling from an airplane on its way to the sky?”
Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez:
“For much of the film’s two hours, you forget about the real-world Cruise and all the problematic baggage he carries and just marvel at his efforts, even if they bear a whiff of desperation. Yes, that’s really Cruise hanging off the side of an airplane in the stupendous prologue that opens the movie. Yes, he really did have to hold his breath for long stretches during one of the film’s mammoth setpieces, this one set underwater. And yes, that really is Cruise hurtling through the streets of Morocco on a motorcycle, roaring after the bad guys. There is evidence of CGI trickery everywhere, but it’s never as distracting as the video-game artificiality of, say, ‘Furious 7.'”
San Jose Mercury News critic Randy Myers:
“The franchise got off to a shaky start with its first couple of films because they couldn’t find the right mix of brains and brawn. ‘Rogue Nation,’ on the other hand, stands firmly confident, never dragging and only going overboard with the action when warranted. OK, maybe it does get cuckoo near the end, but that’s part of the fun.“
Seattle Times critic Moira Macdonald:
“This fifth edition of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is good popcorn-movie fun; watch it on the biggest screen you can find (I saw it on the Boeing IMAX at Pacific Science Center) and enjoy the zippiness. The plot doesn’t matter at all in a movie like this; suffice to say that Hunt and his IMF colleagues Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames), after being disbanded for ‘wanton brinkmanship and a total disregard for protocol,’ must nonetheless save the world from a shady rogue nation called The Syndicate.”
New York Daily News critic Stephen Whitty:
“Tom Cruise’s fun new movie features the star hanging off an airplane, walking away from car crashes and pulling off one insane stunt after another. It’s almost unbelievable. But choose to accept it. Because ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ is the perfect summer action flick. It’s full of attractive people, gorgeous locations, loathsome bad guys and a pounding score that ties it all together. This is what the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies want to be, and the Bond pictures used to.”
LA Weekly critic Amy Nicholson:
“Forget high-tech gadgets. The older Cruise gets, the more he relies on his fists. (And his abs, and his nerves — he’ll never let you forget he does his own stunts, and why should he?) His body is the wonder-gizmo, and Christopher McQuarrie, writer and director of the fifth entry, ‘Rogue Nation,’ keeps the camera on him like a nature show about a hungry lion.“
The Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw:
“It’s really just a chain of colossal action sequences that could be shown in any order. Looking back over the franchise, my reactions have ranged from enjoyment to defeated exasperation and back again. There’s not a lot to chew on in McQuarrie’s script here; I have happy memories of Anthony Hopkins’s sarcastic drawl in M:I2: ‘It’s not Mission: Difficult is it?’ This M:I is entertaining in its schematic way; it’s impossible not to respond to the theme music on a Pavlovian level. There’s a sentimental attachment.”
Roger Ebert crtic Matt Zoller Seitz:
“I’m going to call him Tom Cruise during the rest of this review of ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ because even though his character has a name, Ethan Hunt, it is really Tom Cruise who makes his entrance clambering over a hill and exhorting his lovable tech guy Benji (Simon Pegg) to use his hacking skill to open the door of a cargo transport plane that’s about to take off with a belly full of nukes stolen by Chechnyan separatists or something, I don’t know who they are, it doesn’t matter, Tom Cruise is running, arms and legs pumping, hair flying, and holy mother of moley he’s climbing onto the top of the plane and hanging to its underbelly as it takes off, with his bare hands!”
“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” opens July 31.